A question about the media elicited another laugh. A few Septembers ago, Lowry showed up to media day looking like a new (and significantly skinnier) man, telling reporters that he reads everything that has been written about him, including the pieces that were critical of his playoff performance. After last season’s second-round sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers — a series in which Lowry was sidelined with an ankle injury after Game 2 — there was no shortage of experts calling for the Raptors to break up their core. Now that they are rolling, some of those same voices are singing their praises. “Let’s put it this way: When it comes to that type of stuff, media can always be wrong,” Lowry said. “They always can say, ‘I’m sorry, I was wrong.’ That’s their jobs, though. I don’t criticize anybody for writing anything. I don’t care. The media is going to write what they’re going to write. Everyone’s going to say what they’re going to say. Everyone’s going to have their own opinion. Right? As a pro, you take it and you look at it and you can hold onto it or you can just laugh at it.”
ESPN is filling the content pipeline for its new subscription streaming service. The sports media giant has ordered an untitled documentary series that will follow select members of the NBA’s 2017-18 rookie class as they begin their professional-basketball journeys. Over eight episodes the players will be followed from their preparation for draft night through Summer League competition, training camp, and the regular season. The series is produced for ESPN by Winik Media and 441 productions, and will be exclusive to streaming service ESPN Plus. “It will be really compelling, access-based programming, bringing fans closer to their favorite athletes, telling the story of the journey of adjusting to life in the NBA on the court and off the court,” said Connor Schell, executive vice president of content for ESPN. “I love being able to do storytelling like that and have it be at people’s fingertips.”
Boozer and Robinson spoke separately with The Athletic about their vision for their new podcast, their days in Chicago, being sports dads and much more. Lauren Comitor: How did the podcast come about? Boozer: Yeah, so basically, I retired, and I was looking to do things I’m interested in and one of the things I’ve always been interested in was broadcasting, and talking about the game, because I talk about the game so much, with my friends, my dad, my brother, people always in my circle are always talking basketball, talking the game. So I hired an agent, Gideon Cohen, and he came to me with an idea for a podcast. I had a bunch of different people I wanted to do it with, and he said it’d be great if I had a partner. The first person I thought of was Nate, because me and Nate talk almost every day about hoops and what’s going on in the NBA today. So I called him up, I said, “Hey, what are you up to?” And he goes, “Man, not much, just getting trained and ready so I can get back in the NBA.” And I said, “Well, why don’t you come and do a podcast with me?” So he was like, let’s do it. He agreed right away. He was excited about it, I was excited about it, and we just jumped on it. And Sports Illustrated was kind enough to see our vision and like what we brought to the table.
Allie Clifton does not yet know if, when LeBron James splits a double team and dunks on the Suns tonight, she’ll belt out “throw the hammer down!” The man in whose seat she will sit, Austin Carr, definitely would. But Carr will miss the Cavs-Suns game because of funeral arrangements for his brother, Roderick, who died earlier this month. So Clifton, 30, will serve as the color analyst on Fox Sports Ohio’s broadcast, next to play-by-play man Fred McLeod.
“It’s a passion of mine to simply be able to be around the game,” said Clifton, who is in her sixth season on the Cavs’ broadcasts. Usually she serves as sideline reporter. “At this level, I don’t think I ever really thought about it, at the NBA level,” Clifton said. “But it’s something to see other women do it, Sarah Kustok, and Stephanie Ready, and Doris (Burke) of course. It just shows that the opportunity is there. So I think the chance for me to do it in a place I’m so familiar with, alongside someone like Fred. I’m excited about it.”